Rundown of the book - It's not about helping you find your own purpose, unfortunately. It's got 6-7 chapters, each one focusing on traumatic or tragic life events and how they changed some people. Two to 3 people's traumas/tragedies are highlighted in each chapter. Their guides, angels or higher selves are channeled and they talk about the pre-birth agreement the soul made and how this tragedy would help the person achieve whatever he wanted to achieve in this lifetime - the reasons for their particular tragedy/trauma.
The chapters are: Physical Illness (2 people are highlighted, one with AIDS, the other breast cancer. Accidents; Deafness and Blindness; Alcoholism and Drug Addiction; Parenting Handicapped Children; Death of a Loved One.
I was bothered with the fact that the only way that souls, apparently, choose to learn is through suffering. It's the typical eastern and western philosophy, yet again. No one grew through insight or emotional searching, questioning or personal angst, only through paralysis or a son dying through drug overdose or having two very disabled children or getting AIDS or having a bomb blow up in their face or their fiance dying in a diving accident. There was no learning through chronic illness or emotional abuse or more benign "suffering." It always had to be really tragic, traumatic. It seems such an contemporary human way of looking at the world, always pain and suffering before one can grow. It's so typical of the philosophies/religions these days and days past.
The author asks the guides that are channeled why suffering has to occur for growth, and the answer is because the physical plane is about duality. This worn out example is used: How can you experience joy if you've never felt sadness? How can you experience light if you've never been in the dark? Although I understand this and see the validity, it annoys me that severe long-lasting suffering is the "only" way that people can seem to find their purpose, according to this book. Only through suffering can a person access his soul and then understand why he chose events in this lifetime. Only then can he proceed toward his true life's work.
Also, I found it annoying that the book focused on the people in the book and their plan. It says it helps you figure out your soul purpose, but without already having figured it out pretty much on your own by that point, this book would just talk about other people, who are interesting, and you might be able to find parallels, but contrary to the back cover, it doesn't help you access or understand your own personal blueprint at all.
Sure, you can see how your situation is similar to others if you have some similar tragedy in your life. I certainly saw distinct similarities between me and someone in the book, but all she figured out I had already figured out. If I hadn't done the emotional work I had, perhaps this book would have helped open my eyes, so I could see why the event "happened" to me. Maybe that explains all the 5 star ratings. People see themselves in these common human events and it helps them come to terms with their suffering.
My final assessment is this: Humanity is moving beyond the idea that the only way toward personal growth is through suffering. Up to this point, perhaps much of humanity needed something negative to change, but I feel we're moving beyond this concept.
This book perpetuates the myth that the only way to enlightenment is through suffering. I find this outdated and untrue. Humanity is ready to move beyond this destructive concept. That's what the Aquarian Age is all about, this New Age. We're leaving the Piscean Age of suffering, victimization, and martyrdom behind. What a relief!